Swiss make history with first BJK Cup title

SWITZERLAND made history by winning its first ever Billie Jean King (BJK) Cup title after defeating Australia 2-0 in the 2022 final overnight. The two nations are the most recent runners-up, with Switzerland able to go one better than its 2021 final defeat to Russia, while Australia had to settle as the bridesmaid for the second time in three years.

In front of a packed crowd in Glasgow, Scotland, all eyes were on the all-important first match. After sitting out the singles the past two ties, Jil Teichmann replaced Viktorija Golubic up against the red-hot Storm Sanders. Despite sitting 200 ranking places apart, Teichmann knew she had a fight on her hands up against the determined Aussie, as the match went to three sets. Captain Heinz Guenthardt was focused on getting his nation its first ever female team cup.

After an even start to the match, it was Teichmann who broke in the fourth game, and raced to a 5-2 lead. While Sanders did not allow the Swiss Top 40 player to waltz away with it, she could not conjure up a break point. Instead, Teichmann relied on her consistency, making two less unforced errors (15-17) despite only hitting the four winners. That helped her secure the first set 6-3, and put her nation on top.

The second set was a complete reversal from the first with the opening four games going the way of the returning player. It was not until the 10th and final game of the set that it seemed to fall apart for Teichmann. A pair of double faults in the final game – her only ones of the match to that point – opened the door for the Australian, who rushed in. Sanders closed out the set 6-4 and sent it to a third deciding set.

Determined to set the tone early, Teichmann broke back off a Sanders double fault in the opening game, then held on to go 2-0 up. Soon Sanders hit back with a break of her own to level the scores, only for her serve to waiver yet again and the Swiss star took another break. From there, Sanders could not make inroads into Teichmann’s serve, and in what was a must-win ninth game down 3-5 in the final set, Sanders was broken and the world number 35 closed out the match in two hours and 18 minutes, 6-3 4-6 6-3. In the end, Teichmann hit nine less winners (22-31) and six less unforced errors (38-44), but also broke six times to four and was able to stand up in crucial points.

The second match was far less even, as world number 12 Belinda Bencic – who was undefeated and yet to drop a set at the tournament – cruised to a dominant win over 33rd ranked Ajla Tomljanovic. In a contest that lasted just an hour and 15 minutes, Bencic ensured there was no need for the final to go to a third match, triumphing 6-2 6-1. In both sets, Tomljanovic started okay and even broke Bencic in the first set, but ultimately dropped the last four and five games respectively after being 2-2 and 1-1 in the sets.

Bencic served five aces to three and hit double the winners (14-7), as well as only producing 13 unforced errors to 23. Her backhand was particularly dominant with nine winners off that wing, and she won a ridiculous 75 per cent of her first serve points, as Tomljanovic could not get going, with just 15 of 35 being successful (43 per cent). That was ultimately the difference in the match, as a dominant Swiss star was able to lead her nation to its first ever BJK Cup.

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